No one wants to fail at anything, but I invite you to find out if you are failing at marketing (along with a lot of your peers) by answering these three questions:

  1. Do you know exactly where your best leads come from?
  2. Can you tell me how much you spend in marketing to get each new sale?
  3. Can you tell me your actual Return on Investment for every marketing tactic you deploy?

If you are like most marketers, you cannot answer these questions! But you aren’t failing financially. You are most likely thriving and have been for years, even generations. It’s likely you’ve been blessed to be highly successful without having to learn today’s marketing. So why should you bother learning marketing now? Because…

to survive in the future you will need to be smarter and more nimble! Yes, competition is getting stiffer and stiffer so you’ve got to keep up to stay up.

I just finished presenting our Advanced Marketing Strategies course (now available as an E-course at http://www.askmeridian.com/advanced-marketing-strategies/) where I learned that even some very prestigious, stout petroleum companies had no clue whether they were getting returns on their marketing.

There are strategic and foolproof ways to tackle marketing and know that your hard-earned dollars spent are working. It’s really quite simple. Here are the seven basics I shared with them:

  1. Gather intimate details about your best targets and why they are your target
  2. Understand what “trigger events” happen right before they buy
  3. Be innovative in creating trigger events
  4. Create lead capture mechanisms if they are anonymous
  5. Give away something to them that will be hugely valuable for them (info etc.)
  6. Use unique identifiers for every marketing medium
  7. Periodically analyze ROI and tweak your marketing

We had some great discussions about new digital marketing versus tried-and-true older styles. The effectiveness of digital mediums depend largely on the age range of your target prospects and their buying habits. The younger the target, the more digital you must get.

This brought us to the punctuation point that people buy, not companies. Keeping in mind an actual person makes a buying decision, I challenged the participants to create target customer Avatars. That is where a best target customer is described in detail, including entire demographic and psychographic descriptors on that individual. Then for fun, you give that Avatar a name.

For instance, if your target customer is a construction company, you can’t say a company is the target. You must ask yourself, who actually makes the buying decision? Is it the construction company owner? Perhaps the General Manager? Or maybe there is a procurement guy. Your Avatar will be completely different depending on who the buyer really is.

Let’s assume your buyer is the Procurement guy. And for fun let’s name him Fred. Fred has full authority to buy the fuel required from whoever he wants.

So let’s explore what you might know about the typical Fred? How old is Fred? Is he married? Does he have kids? What is most important to Fred? Is it saving the company money on fuel? Is it looking good to his boss? Is it making sure his crews never run out of fuel at a job? What does Fred worry about other than running out and looking stupid?

I think you are getting the picture of all the info you need to gather about Fred, even though he is just an Avatar.

So now when your team is working on marketing, they should think about “Fred” and what influences Fred’s fuel buying decisions. They also need to think through what would cause Fred to change fuel suppliers. If Fred is being served by a competitor, his buying trigger would likely be a run out.

Understanding Fred, your marketing strategy should include item(s) you put in front of Fred so that when his existing supplier allows the run out, he will think of you, call you, and you become his hero!

Now let’s step up the marketing a notch. Is there anything you can do to capture Fred’s account before a run out happens? What else is important to Fred? Can you create a trigger point?

Next, how will you keep top of mind for Fred? This means thinking through what Fred reads or listens to or watches. It means identifying who he respects. What does Fred do for fun on his days off? Does Fred belong to a professional association of procurement managers where you could be a guest expert?

Maybe you find out that Fred and his family are very tied into the local kids’ sports and that association is always looking for sponsors. Armed with that info, you cleverly decide to be a sponsor. Now Fred sees your name every time he is with his kids at the sporting practice. I think you can see where this is going.

Will anyone else see your sponsorship? Now you get really smart and use a unique trackable phone number on that sport association materials, different from your main account. By tracking how many people call you on that unique phone and what sales get generated, coupled with knowing the cost of the sponsorship, you just figured out your cost per lead and cost per sale for that marketing method.

This is just an example for you to see how fun marketing can be when you and your team think more deeply about targets and marketing, and targets — Pretty fun stuff that translates to more dollars in the door and keeps you ahead of your competition. I truly believe that today and in the near future, the petroleum companies who market smarter will win. Hope it’s you!

Petro Marketing Marketers Admit Failing Miserably at Marketing!